Planting containers is a quiet and contemplative task (Google / Times Observer Warren, Pa)

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Container gardening is rewarding

By REBECCA NORTON RYAN Member of Warren Garden Club and Penn State Master Gardener , The Times Observer

Planting containers is a quiet and contemplative task much like flower arranging. Choosing the right container, considering the setting and selecting the flowers is a creative process. The gardener brings together flowers and container while considering color, balance, harmony, purpose and placement.

Our garage with its cement floor and easy access to water and with the plants temporarily housed nearby makes a perfect place to work undisturbed. Make sure the table you work on is of a convenient height. I use saw horses and a well worn piece of plywood for my work space. I also need a comfortable stool for considering my next project.

Prep your work space with all your containers, cleaned and ready for duty, all watering cans filled with water and water soluble fertilizer (20-20-20) at half strength and soil. If you only have a few plants you can buy soil. If you have many containers then it may be more economical to make your own. I also use screen in the bottom of my containers to cover the drainage hole. It allows water to drain while the soil stays in the containers. Don’t forget gardening gloves. Your skin needs that protection whenever you work with soil. If you can’t get used to gardening gloves try the disposable gloves used by health care professionals and sold in drug stores. Your little plants from the garden center have been held a day or two in a sheltered place, watered well with protection from wind and bright sun.

As you fill your containers take into consideration your plant’s light requirements. Place sun loving flowers in containers with other sun lovers. Likewise make sure your shade lovers are placed together in containers. A sunny location in June can become a shady location by August. The advantage of containers is that they can be moved through out the season as the sun travels across the heavens.

When planting your containers there are many arranging techniques to keep in mind.

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Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.